Published online by Cambridge University Press: 05 July 2011
Pacchierotti, Gasparo, perhaps the greatest singer of the second half of the 18th century, was born in 1744 at Fabriano, near Aneona. His ancestors came from Siena, where one of them, Jacopo dal Peechia, called Pacchierotto, studied the works of Perugino and Raffaelle to such good effect that his own pictures have been sometimes taken by connoisseurs to be by the hand of the latter great master. Driven from Siena by political troubles, the family of Paechierotto in 1575 took refuge in Pianca-stagnaio; from whence a branch settled in Fabriano.
About 1757 Gasparo Pacchierotti was admitted into the choir of S. Mark's at Venice, where the great Bertoni was his master, according to the memoir written by the singer's adopted son, Giuseppe Cecchini Pacchierotti. This, however, is contradicted by Fétis, who states that it was in the choir of the cathedral at Forli that the young singer received his first instruction, and that it was impossible that he could have sung under Bertoni, since boys were never employed at S. Mark's, where Bertoni did not become Maestro di Cappella till 1785, having been up to that date (from 1752) only organist. However this may be, it is certain that the young Pacchierotti, having been prepared for the career of a sopranist, studied long and carefully before he began, at the age of sixteen, to sing secondary parts at Venice, Vienna, and Milan.